$43,500 Settlement in Religious Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit, Training Ordered

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Question:  Would religious discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

Salon chain Supercuts has agreed to pay $43,500 and to implement preventive measures to settle a religious accommodation and retaliation lawsuit.

According to the EEOC, Carolyn Sedar had been employed as a stylist and shift manager for Supercuts in Pleasant Hill, Calif. Since 1999, store managers accommodated her observance of her Christian Sabbath by permitting her not to work on Sundays until November 2008, when a new store manager scheduled Sedar for a Sunday shift. Despite written and oral requests to managers informing them that she could not work on her Sabbath, Supercuts refused to excuse Sedar and terminated her after she refused to work on two consecutive Sundays.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees, as long as the accommodations are reasonable and do not create an undue hardship. The law also prohibits retaliation against employees. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Supercuts Corporate Stores, Inc. CV 104412 RS in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The court-approved consent decree in this case provides, among other things, training of managers and employees about religious accommodation under Title VII, providing reports to the EEOC of all requests for religious accommodation at a number of its salons, and posting a notice at the salons addressing religious accommodation in the workplace.

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